Once upon a time I went on a mission to Germany and I thought that I would quickly learn how to use public transportation.
How wrong I was.
Over the past ten weeks of training, I have taken the wrong Straßenbahn a multitude of times, but last Tuesday seemed to sum up just how transportation illiterate I am.
It started off in the morning as we took the wrong bus and were late for an appointment. Which wasn't a huge deal. We moved on. That evening, we were supposed to travel to Delitzsch to teach a part member family. Except for some reason I thought they lived in Eilenberg. So we took a train to Eilenberg. Which as it turns out is not Delitzsch. After calling the person who was planning on picking us up and realizing my mistake, we were resigned to wait at the Eilenberg train station until the next train back to Leipzig came.
A train came about an hour later and we hopped on, trying to forget my judgment error and happy to be on our way. Happy until 45 minutes later we wondered why we weren't home yet. We looked at the travel screen to affirm we were heading in the right direction, when what before our wondering eyes should appear? Cottbus. Which in case you were wondering is not Leipzig. I asked someone if the train was going to Leipzig (just to be sure) and he said no, it was come from Leipzig. A very important preposition distinction.
Needless to say, we got off the train as soon as possible. Dying of laughter. Because if it's 8:15pm and you have no idea where you are and how in the world you make the same mistake so much, you're either going to be laughing or crying. We opted for the former.
We called our zone leaders, only mildly frantic, to tell them we were in Falkenberg. Which is outside of our zone (about 75km to the NE, or an hour away—another hour east and they would have ended up in Poland). We then called our mission president to tell him of our whereabouts and let him know we'd be late coming home. A kind member offered to pick us up so we wouldn't have to wait for another train and buy another ticket (or possibly have the opportunity to take the wrong train again). She arrived at approximately 9:46pm and we made it home at 11:06pm, exhausted but grateful. And humbled.
With this experience, I thought about the Christ's Atonement. Because some people can be a little dumb and make the same mistake over and over again. Like taking the wrong train. Or drinking mucho. Or doing drugs. But it doesn't matter how far you get because Christ will also drive out to get you and bring you back. Even if you make it farther than Falkenberg and even past Russia. No far is too far for the Atonement to heal people through Christ's love and forgiveness and patience. I've needed to rely on the Atonement a lot on my mission to help other as well as myself progress and try to become better without having the weight of failure halt that progress.
We now resume to my normally segmented email. Shortened version.
Sandra was my first new investigator on my mission, which means she's been learning since February. This week she tschüßt us, which means she said she didn't want to meet with us anymore. Because she decided we weren't strict enough. That's a first.
It was really sad though because we've spent so much time with her and really just love her. Such is life. She'll come back in the future. She just needs time.
Other adventures from this week included increased enthusiasm from the members about missionary work, visits to a mental hospital/rehabilitation center, a lot of appointment fall outs, and a pushed back baptismal date for Chaku (now set for July 27th, which is after transfers). I also hit my five month mark. Timey wimey people.
All my love. Plus some.
Sister Claire Michelle Woodward